Kava vs Kratom: What’s the Difference and How to Get Started
Kava and kratom are becoming popular for their therapeutic benefits. But what’s the difference and how do you get started? Here’s your kava vs kratom guide.
Around 40 million people in the United States suffer from anxiety, while 25.3 million Americans experience chronic pain.
If you’re one of the many people who struggle with anxiety, constant pain, or even depression and insomnia, you may be considering natural remedies to alleviate your symptoms.
For centuries, people around the world have been using kava and kratom. Both herbs have distinct qualities that help your mind and body feel at-ease. It might seem like these herbs are similar, but they actually have important differences that will affect which one you choose to consume.
We’ll outline all the differences in our kava vs. kratom guide.
Kava vs. Kratom
Kratom and kava aren’t right for everyone–it all depends on what result you’re attempting to achieve. Take the time to compare the effects of both herbs before trying them out.
Kava is a pepper plant that comes from the Western Pacific region of the world–more specifically, it’s found in countries like Fiji, Papua New Guinea, Micronesia and more. Kava is often used as a replacement for alcohol in these areas and is served at kava bars called Nakamals.
The kratom plant originates from Southeast Asia, growing in areas like Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia. Kratom is an evergreen tree that’s actually related to the coffee family. Members of these communities use kratom to fight physical exhaustion, pain, and depression.
Kava and kratom are both capable of treating trauma, general anxiety, pain, stress, social anxiety, and insomnia.
Kava comes in three different levels. The heady level is great to use during the day as it will make you calm, but still coherent. Heavy kava is used as a sedative during nighttime, while balanced kava is a combination of both.
The effects of kratom differ when taken in different doses. Its pain-killing and relaxing qualities become more powerful when you take it in higher doses. Smaller doses make you feel energized and more social.
The most significant differences between kratom vs kava are found in the chemical makeup of each herb and the effects that they have on the body.
Kava’s Ingredients and Side Effects
Kava contains 18 kavalactones–six of which are known for having anti-anxiety, painkilling, and anticonvulsant properties. These kavalactones affect the limbic section of our brain that deals with emotions. Luckily, kavalactones aren’t addictive.
Kavalactones make us feel happy because they interact with our GABA receptors; these release norepinephrine and serotonin. In other words, consuming kava makes you feel as if you drank alcohol, but without the mental fogginess.
Some users report that kava can make them feel too sedated, but this is common in first-time users. If too much kava is consumed, it can cause liver damage.
Kratom’s Ingredients and Side Effects
On the other hand, kratom contains alkaloids which interact with our opiate receptors. These receptors are responsible for pain tolerance.
In other words, consuming kratom generates a similar feeling as if we were to consume opiates.
Kratom itself isn’t considered an opiate, but it does have very similar qualities.
Because alkaloids produce the same results as morphine, that means that kratom can have some of the same side effects. Both morphine and kratom can cause addiction and withdrawal symptoms if you consume too much for a long period of time. Kratom can also cause a lack of hunger, nausea, hostility as well as an inability to sleep.
Kratom is frequently consumed by people who struggle with opioid and drug addictions– it helps people gradually stop taking these drugs.
In terms of kava kava vs. kratom, kava is generally viewed as safer.
Unlike kava, kratom is banned in certain states and countries. Kratom is currently illegal in Alabama, Arkansas, Indiana, Tennessee, Vermont, Wisconsin, and Washington, D.C. It’s also banned in three cities: Denver, San Diego, as well as in Sarasota, Florida.
Keep an eye out for kratom legislation in the future. The FDA has hinted at banning the herb, and other states have scrutinized its safety.
Kava’s popularity is growing around the world. With new research lifting the kava ban off of Germany and Switzerland, more people are able to enjoy this herb.
For about 20 years, kava has been circulating around the United States. In fact, kava bars popped up all over the country. Why take a shot of whiskey when you can relax with kava?
Getting Started with Kava
Kava comes in many different forms including a capsule, paste, liquid and instant kava mix.
Mix It Up
If you’re just starting out you can use an instant mix to create a delicious kava drink. All you need to do is blend this kava powder in your drink. Some people enjoy the natural taste of kava, while others choose to mask the flavor with some fruit juice.
Take a Capsule
You can take kava in a capsule form if you want a quick and easy way to feel relaxed. Capsules are usually comprised of powder or liquid kava. However, the kava capsules don’t have the same strength as kava powder.
Kava paste will give you the most relaxing experience out of all these forms. You should use the paste in a tiny amount, as it has a strong effect. Beginners should try out the powder or capsule form before trying the paste.
Try Out a Kava Tincture
Take a couple drops of kava tincture to feel its effects. Tinctures have different kavalactone contents–some are stronger than others. If you’re a beginner, start out with a 3% kavalactone tincture.
Getting Started with Kratom
Kratom is mainly sold in a powdered form that can be consumed in a variety of creative ways to hide its flavor. This company is a popular shop for all types of Kratom powder.
Pop a Pill
You can take kratom in pill-form if you’re hoping to avoid the flavor. They can easily be taken when you’re away from home, giving you that quick boost of pain and stress relief.
Make Some Tea
Incorporate kratom into your morning tea by letting your kratom powder boil in water for about a half-hour. After it’s done, strain the liquid and pour yourself a glass of tea.
Add It To Your Snack
Kratom powder can be mixed into a smoothie or yogurt. Both of these methods help hide the flavor while giving you the full effect of the herb.
Healing With Kava and Kratom
Knowing the side effects and benefits of kava vs kratom can help you find the right remedy for your mental or physical pain. For stronger physical pain relief you can go with kratom, but stick with kava if you’re looking for something to make you relax without the chance of addiction.
Check out our health and fitness blog for more wellness advice.